Home from Home.

 

Esther’s Weekly Challenge Favourite Family Holidays…

Just one week in a new place, one of the last holidays I remember us having all together as a family.

That home from home we didn’t want to leave.

Where we arrived and Mum began to bake,

The farmhouse kitchen just begging to be used. A basement store its dark cavern, full of unknown but interesting jars of produce waiting to be discovered.

A big pine table we could all sit around for breakfast overlooking the apple tree, laden with fruit as the tractors went about their business.

The big wooden bed with the patchwork quilt that you had to climb up onto and window seats to while away the time with a book.

The room I shared with my sister, looking out at the cows who came to the back wall to the cottage curious as to what we were doing laying on the floor looking out over the fields.

Memories of a Summer Holiday and the new friends we made.

A farm with barns and hay and animals, freedom to run wild and free in nature.

A true country farm cottage in the place with a very strange name.

This is a true story, we stayed in a holiday cottage at a place named Normanby-by-Spital, in Lincolnshire when my sister was very young, my brother and I were teenagers and although he was bored by the idea, we soon made new friends and explored the countryside. It turned out to be one of our most favourite holidays together.

 

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The Warmth of The Sun

It is something that should not be underestimated. the Warmth of the Sun.

Before I came away on this trip, I was feeling tired. For tired read totally exhausted. My body felt as though it was giving up on me, failing me at almost every opportunity and although I believed that there was a light at the end of a tunnel, I just couldn’t feel it. But I had to keep believing in the fact that it was actually there.

Depression had taken quite a grip of me for a while, despite my attempts to “not give it any house room” and as simple as it sounds now, it has become clear in the past few weeks that what I needed a holiday. A real, relaxing, holiday with the sun on my skin and heat which warmed my bones from the outside in. Away from all of the things that had caused all the stress. A break from it all. Despite the trip to Barcelona last year, this has been my first downtime holiday in eight years. Since we got the house, that has been our go to place away from it all. Which was my off switch from work when I needed to get away. But due to the lack of work seems to have become another on the list of unfinished things which we have been unable to resolve. I love being there, it truly feels like home when we are there but it needs a lot of money we just don’t have spending on it to get it up to scratch and I know that it is weighing heavily on our minds that the climate causes us issues which even if we got the place tip top, we would still suffer in the winter there, thus requiring a warmer climate for at least part of the year.

This holiday has been wonderful. I have spent quality time with my friends and their family, which has been great. I have seen so much and felt the excitement of new experiences running through my veins. A renewed zest for life. I felt as though I have reset my system to deal with things that the future may hold and I feel much calmer now. I have also had some awful nightmares in the past month, but I have awoken from them knowing that they were just that, bad dreams and being able to let go of the details. The angst that has followed me around for so long, the looking over my shoulder spending waking moments and sleeping ones thinking about the antics and ravings of a disturbed neighbour had worn me down so much that I no longer felt safe in my home, or the life that was happening around me. As though every last bit of control that I had over my life and destiny had been removed. It is not the way that a life should be lived, little more than existing from one day to the next. It is not the life for me.

I don’t have it all worked out yet, clearly it is one step at a time. But I do feel better equipped mentally to deal with what is coming my way in the future. I have been trying to figure out my purpose as some of you have read for a while now, I still don’t have the answer, but I feel that I am now much more open to opportunity should it come my way and I may even be able to see it, if it presents itself instead of missing it by a mile.

I have missed my family a lot in the past month. I am reliant upon them for love and support and I am looking forward to seeing them again. I am looking forward to the intimacy of holding them close to me seeing their smiles in front of me, not just as a memory held dear.

I know that I need to find something for work which physically I am able to do. My physical capability has diminished so much in the past year that I do not know what I will be able to do, but there has to be something. I had hoped that a huge amount of sleep would mean that my energy levels would go up but honestly I can’t say that has happened. I am still incredibly tired. So maybe the Dr was right maybe CFS or Chronic Fatigue IS what has been happening to my body. I found out that I am not able to sleep at all if I miss my painkillers. I tried, but all of the pain that was there previously returned with a vengeance. So it hasn’t miraculously gone. I do not take lots of them but going without is foolhardy.

It was a huge relief to be told that the results of my MRI were clear and good, so there was no neurological reason for the seizures that I had last year, or the shaking which has at times taken me over. But what I have noticed as clear as day is that the warmth of the sun and being in this climate has stopped the tremendous pain that I have felt for months in my hands and feet. Although I still have it from time to time it is a lesser scale and less frequently. It took some getting used to the heat here and I don’t know how I would cope when it gets hotter but, this introduction to a warmer climate seems to have done me the power of good. It has also made me realise that if i can feel the benefit of this in just one month, then think of the effects that a move to a warmer climate would have on us as a family in the long term. Conversation with my friends here extolling the benefits of the warmth make me realise what I already knew from previous jaunts to the sun, that not only does it suit me, but I like it. Which is bizarre since it has rained a lot here in the last month. But it is generally warmer and you can’t feel that consuming damp that gets deep into your bones.

I don’t know that my partner would cope with the Australian heat particularly well, or that he would make a trip out here and it certainly wouldn’t be fair on our dog to make a long haul, but it has reaffirmed that we should attempt to get to warmer climes and Southern France or Italy still looks incredibly inviting and much more likely as a place where we could happily settle.

Could I make a living being a writer? I know that hat I keep asking this question but it’s because I don’t know the answer. I honestly don’t know, but I am not giving up on that idea. I have to find something. I have realised that I do need to find my career niche, but I may have to settle first with a job, just something that covers the bills. It depends on the location we find I guess, I only hope that health improves to enable that to happen.

Away to Anstruther

Away to Anstruther right by the Sea,

A walk in the wind along the quay.

Such wildness and wonder & sights to behold.

Of seascape and boats and stories of old.

A place to sit and enjoy the view.

Of harbour and gulls with me and you.

Chips, salt & vinegar there for our tea.

This is such bliss for you & for me.

Observing the world as it passes us by,

Hearing the gulls as they saw squawk and they cry.

Watching the darkness come over to night.

Clouds over yonder Red sky delight.



From South to North – Part One Welcome to Scotland or Failte gu Alba

This post is one of two about our long awaited journey northward. I am writing it up posting when I have a connection.  There will be more to follow:

Having travelled late night and slept, we awoke to a beautiful sunny day in the North. Sunshine and Warmth, two of my favourite things. It was hard driving along the motorway, our first trip towards the hill without our little bear. I’d become very distressed at the thought of leaving him behind and we had decided to take him. His casket, safely wrapped in his bedtime blanket in a holdall in the back of the car. His rightful place as we travelled north. I just wasn’t ready to do this trip without him.

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I’d made him a promise you see, that we would all go to Scotland again together, to his house and say Hello to his Moo Cows. It was one of the last things that I said to him as he went off to sleep.

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So we all set off, packed the 30 year old caravan as a trailer and loaded it to the gunnels. There is always too much to take on this journey, having been burgled, I am loathe to leave things behind and I do not pack light.

We set off at 10pm and arrived in Yorkshire at 2am, sleeping from 3am till 11am. Then I woke up to a lovely cheerful message from my friend wishing us a safe journey.
As we set off again in the sunshine, we hit Wetherby in a heatwave. So sun warmth and a bit of brunch. The West Cornwall Pasty Co, is an essential part of my journey and is significant in marking the start of the holiday for me. I don’t know exactly why, but on the occasions we have arrived there and they have been closed, it is a kind of nonentity as though something is missing.
Their meal deal marks the holiday spirit for me, it is a treat that I only have on this journey. No-where else. Strange but true.image
I ate my lunch as my partner attempted to swap caravans with a Romanian man who was headed back to his home country with his one. Our journeys are never dull!
My partner was certainly sick and tired of ours by then, which didn’t bode well for the rest of the journey ahead. The vehicle struggled to pull the long caravan with it’s luggage uphill and was taking all his skills in the wind, to keep it steady.
At Wetherby we were just going to head off again, when a couple pulled in alongside us with a beautiful five month old Labrador puppy on board. We complimented them on their gorgeous pup and I asked if I could pet her. About half an hour later I still was and as the men talked I told the lady about our boy and that he used to wave at people and everybody loved him. We missed him so much. It was really hard.
The Puppy, called Bailey wiggled in for more kisses and cuddles and barked to tell me off when I stopped. She was lovely, the lady asked me if we would get another dog. Definitely and Soon, I said. We were just waiting for the right time and the right dog again. We climbed back in the car and headed off up the motorway in the sunshine.

Kato would have loved this journey, thoughts of “Are you OK Fluffy Ears?” rang through my head. I looked into the back of the car, our beloved boy replaced by luggage. It was too strange and brought tears to the eyes.
Dare I tell him that I had brought a lead, harness and collar with me, just in case?
Just in case there was a dog that was abandoned, roaming the streets and needing a loving home. Or a pup that caught the eye whilst we were away. How would he feel?
I also brought a spare blanket, but no toys or chews. I did not want to bring all the Kato things with us. It didn’t seem right, but would not leave without putting the blanket in the bag and telling him that “it was OK, he was coming too” as I packed. Kato always became sad until I said that, the arrival of travel bags disconcerted him and he needed to be reassured that we were all going together. Why he thought I could leave him, I don’t know. Since my partner returned to Scotland in an emergency when he was a pup, he’d always been nervous of the bags.

As we drove along, we talked as we always do. My partner decided to tell me that his doctor had warned him that of his health, further concerns and asked when? He told me when his mother had died. So that was 18 months ago and he regularly gets confused and forgetful, especially under stress. Timing is everything. But when you are the only one who can tow a 20 foot caravan on a 600 mile trip it can be alarming news! I am the navigator these days, he says he gets confused and doesn’t always see what he should or read the situation how he should. Was I worried, Yes and maybe that is what continues as I woke about 3.30am or maybe it’s some other reason. I’d better learn the stuff he can teach me, before it’s too late like learning to tow a caravan. Why do we take so much stuff on a trip, he asked. Well Darling, we don’t have a lock and leave, when we do we won’t have to take it and bring it all back.

I hope that he gets there, to the lock and leave one day. Is time running out? He seems to think so in some of his more thoughtful moments. So, even if we sold it all right now and moved to France would we cope?
Well, we’d have a pretty good try at it. We’d be learning new things together and without the back up of family or old friends I do not know how I’d cope with the challenges, but I guess we’d find out.

Meanwhile, this journey is very tiring for him. He is exhausted, mentally and physically drained and as we arrive for our second night at the hotel. It is one where they know us. We were last here as a family at New Year after a journey from hell back down from Aviemore in the Highlands. I was so proud of my beloved his driving skills got us through floods and horrendous situations, over mountain tracks and crumbling roads. It was a scary journey for us all and the dog had nightmares, he was frightened and so was I at times and yet we put our trust in him and he got us through it with our trailer making it to safety. It’s supposed to get easier not more difficult in time. We were so relieved to be safe that at New Year, we celebrated that we had made it, exhausted but safe with a tipple and that we were all alive and together, letting our friends and family know. It was all that mattered to us.

This time as we arrived, I told the night porter that we had lost our boy. She remembered him and had wondered where he was. I didn’t go into all the details, it was hard enough and I chose to tell her when my partner went to the car for something. He came back and tried to tell her and got upset.

Once in our room, he said to me, “This journey is so hard” Yes, I said “without him it feels strange”, Yes. I do not know what we will be like when we reach our house. The usual hotel room has something missing. He’s large and furry and usually bouncing around the room at this point, having had a huge drink, a big cuddle and is so pleased to be out of the car, delighting in the knowledge that tomorrow we will reach our destination. His House!
But this room is empty, the holdall is in the room with us, I could not leave it in the car another night. I could not sleep for worrying that someone might take him, it was one of the things that my partner had said to me when I said we had to bring him. So our boy is here with us. I did not get to kiss his casket, have our goodnights before we fell asleep. Yes I have things on my mind these early hours, it is worry that our belongings are safe in the caravan in the car park, but heartache and loss which keeps me awake tonight. My digestion is off track, I did not drink enough fluid on the trip, none of us do.

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